How much are you able to bring your full and authentic self to your creative work?
This may be an especially meaningful question if you are an actor.
Brie Larson commented about Emma Stone: “She is never afraid to show us the most difficult thing you can show the world: yourself.”
From article Can You Be Present in Your Art and Your ‘Real’ Life?
Emma Stone spoke in an interview about feeling “a lot of insecurities” and recalled “my early 20s was a very difficult time in my life.”
But she said it was important to her to stay open and vulnerable:
“I don’t want to be that kind of person that gets hippo skin. I want to keep my skin thin always because that is the only way to be a creative person and try to be authentic.
“I just want to be more of a real person but I struggle with that too.”
From article: Emma Stone: “The Favourite” gives us an Exclusive Interview with Eileen Shapiro, starsandcelebs.com.
Photo: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone in The Favourite. (Link to Amazon.)
Psychotherapist Mihaela Ivan Holtz helps creative people in TV/Film, performing and fine arts with “life struggles, depression, anxiety, creativity, relationships, PTSD, and addictions – to become their own best version.”
She addresses these topics of being authentic and present as an artist, and dealing with emotions, in a number of her articles on her site.
She writes in one article:
Because you’re an artist, you often hear, “If you want to be successful, you have to show up!”
Over and over again you get the same messages. Show up in your art!
Show up in the world! Bring your art to those that need it!
But, sometimes, you feel confused.
You keep showing up and not really getting anywhere, despite being so actively engaged, determined, and sure of what you want.
You want recognition. You want to have an impact. You want emotional and financial rewards.
When you don’t see yourself on a path that gets you closer to what you aim for, you wonder if you’re missing something or you’re doing something wrong.
When you don’t have the success you long for you may become full of self-doubts and questions.
You wonder if it’s just the arts and entertainment world where “the normal success rules” don’t apply.
Here’s one question you may not have asked yourself: are you avoiding something?
Despite the way you’re showing up and actively pursuing your dreams, is there something you’re still avoiding? And, if you are, what would that be?
Sometimes avoidance operates at unconscious level.
That means you fall into patterns of avoidance without being aware you’re doing it.
Deep in your mind and your heart, you feel like you’re showing up.
You’re pouring your energy into creating your art, developing your skills, taking classes, going to events…
How could you be stuck in avoidance when you’re so actively pursuing your dreams?
Yes, you may be very active in pursuing your career, but still avoid taking the actions that matter.
Yes, you may be very determined about what you want to create, and still avoid feelings you need to feel in order to perform or make your art a reality.
Yes, you may show up and still not make a genuine connection that brings forth all that you are and all that you have to offer.
Your determination and big wish to accomplish something is a beautiful energy.
And yet you might be misdirecting that energy and expressing it in a way that is not aligned with what you want to create or with the people that are right for you.
If you aren’t aware you’re avoiding something, how do you know you are avoiding?
The signs can be subtle, but you can learn to see how and when you may be avoiding something unconsciously.
If you find yourself trapped in a certain pattern, not really moving forward on a journey, it’s a sign.
Going in circles without getting to any destination is a sign. You’re looping around, not seeing growth or transformation.
Yes, the arts and entertainment industry is tough, but you should see yourself moving in some direction, not repeating patterns. …
“Unhealthy showing up” isn’t the remedy for avoidance
You might think that showing up is the opposite of avoiding things. In fact, it’s possible to show up in unhealthy ways.
Do any of these patterns sound familiar to you?
A compulsive showing up.
Doing, doing, doing… Pursuing, pursuing, pursuing… You’re showing up out of desperation and a fear of losing opportunities.
You’re stuck in the fast track. You’re not able to see where you are going, connect with who you are, or take in the special moments that make your journey worthwhile.
You just keep going to the wrong destination, which makes you more desperate and unfocused as you blindly search for your destination.
You’re certainly active, but your energy is all over the place. You feel frantic, agitated, maybe even tired.
A false showing up.
You show up, but you feel disconnected, unreal, and not energized by what you’re doing.
You don’t experience the good energy or real connections. You’re not present and connected to who you are as an artist and you might feel lost and under-stimulated.
You can’t seem to connect to what feels important, meaningful, or joyful that could motivate and inspire you to move forward.
Symptoms of anxiety or depression.
There are many reasons why one would have anxiety or depression symptoms, but often these symptoms cover some repressed emotional pain.
As you unconsciously avoid painful memories, these symptoms are reinforced.
Anxiety, panic attacks, or phobias can be clear signs that you may be avoiding something. Depression is also a strong sign.
What are you unconsciously avoiding?
Many times when we avoid something, at some level, we know we’re avoiding it.
It’s possible, however, to block painful experiences, which then become repressed memories.
This is what we avoid without awareness. We are actually avoiding past painful experiences that we didn’t have the chance to master.
See more in her article:
You Can Avoid Your Creative Growth Without Even Realizing It
Desperation and your acting career
Dr. Holtz writes in her article above about “showing up out of desperation and a fear of losing opportunities.”
Uma Thurman has commented:
“Desperation is the perfume of the young actor.
“It’s so satisfying to have gotten rid of it. If you keep smelling it, it can drive you crazy.
“In this business a lot of people go nuts, go eccentric, even end up dead from it. Not my plan.” [From her imdb profile.]
Emotional challenges and trauma can get in the way of being present.
For example, a number of actors have experienced depression, including Halle Berry, Lorraine Bracco, Jon Hamm, Anne Hathaway, Kristen Bell and others.
(You can find posts on all of them on this Creative Mind site, and other sites of mine.)
Eiza González has talked about one kind of experience that can lead to depression – the death of a close relative – and a common way people deal with emotional pain.
This kind of trauma can have an especially strong impact on highly sensitive people, as many or most actors are.
González notes in her imdb bio:
“I lost my father very young, but not young enough to not be aware of what was going on.
“My father and I had an amazing relationship. We were very close.
“I fell into a very dark place and I couldn’t deal with [the] loss. I started eating excessively and gained a lot of weight, and I was very sad. I wasn’t in a good place.
“I wouldn’t say I had an eating disorder, I would say I was going through depression.”
(Photo: Eiza González in Baby Driver, 2017.)
Brie Larson comments about being authentic and vulnerable, especially as an artist:
“It’s very scary to allow the world to see you.”
“It’s really hard to see yourself and to recognize that you are a human being like everybody else. You just think everybody’s judging you.”
“Maybe you’re not perfect, but you’re willing to actually look at yourself and take some kind of accountability. That’s a change. It might not mean that you can turn everything around, but I think there’s something incredibly hopeful about that.”
“I know that I’m an actor and I guess I could kind of put on an act, but it takes so much more time to be someone you are not. I feel so much better just being comfortable with myself and hopefully girls will accept that.”
[Quotes are from bio section of her imdb profile.]
Photo is from her directorial debut movie Unicorn Store.